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February 1, 2002

Shadows, Mentors kick off Career Development Month with Groundhog Job Shadow Day

Hundreds of high school students in Illinois will enter the world of work on February 1, as they job shadow representatives from business, government and industry on national Groundhog Job Shadow Day.

Illinois Governor George H. Ryan has designated February as Career Development Month. Students will have the opportunity to participate in career-related activities throughout the month sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education's Education-to-Careers (ETC) initiative.

Springfield area public and nonpublic high schools will send about 100 students to workplaces Friday. Students will be able to experience a wide variety of career areas ranging from medicine, government, education, law enforcement and business administration, and numerous other job options. Judges in Springfield, and from other judicial districts across the state, will host student shadows for the day. Job shadowing assignments during Career Development Month are representative of the many opportunities provided for students throughout the year.

While Illinois students spend the day shadowing, they will be joined by more than one million of their peers participating in work places nationwide.

On a national level, former President George Bush will have a job shadow for the fourth straight year on Thursday, January 31. Nearly 3,000 Wal-Mart stores, including the Springfield Northeast location, will host student job shadows on Groundhog Job Shadow Day. More than 4,000 Mariott business units will host job shadows and the corporate chairman will conduct a hotel inspection with job shadows at his side. Several students will get a behind the scenes look at national television news on February 1, when they shadow personalities from the NBC's "Today Show" and CBS's "Early Show."

Locally, Springfield's Crowne Plaza hotel will host 13 job shadows from Springfield High School's Hospitality Academy. Students from the media program at Chatham Glenwood high school will be shadowing in the Capitol bureaus of WAND-TV and WCIA-TV and at Illinois Information Service. WICS-TV will mentor students from Petersburg-Porta High School.

For other examples of activities throughout the nation, visit national sponsor's website at This site also allows students to learn more about careers and career preparation. Students can also experience "virtual job shadowing" through the website.

"This is an exciting opportunity for students," said Hazel Loucks, Deputy Governor for Education. "Along with the excitement, these students will gain valuable knowledge of specific careers and preparation needed to be successful. Employers also gain from this experience by coaching students on skills that have helped them in their careers.

"We are pleased with the generous participation of employers throughout the state, and we are especially grateful for the local efforts of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce in helping to coordinate employer participation."

"We believe that businesses and schools must work together closely to ensure that students are well prepared for the workforce," said Todd Smith, the past chairman of the Springfield Chamber who spearheaded efforts to promote job shadowing. "This job shadowing activity is an important and visible example of how schools and businesses in this area are collaborating to build a strong workforce in the future."

Also kicking off Career Development Month will be an awards ceremony for the winners of two career development contests, geared towards elementary and middle school students and sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education. Winners of the Illinois Elementary Hero Contest and regional finalists of the Illinois Multi-Media Middle School contest will be recognized at 1 p.m. at the Illinois Statehouse.

A list of students and employers participating in Job Shadow Day in Illinois can be found at

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777